The journey from Aalst in Belgium to Den Bosch in The Netherlands took much longer than expected due to heavy traffic around Antwerp and Breda. The weather is so hot and I’m pretty tired. I wear my headphones on the journey and remain largely anti-social. We arrive in Den Bosch at around 3pm. We say quickly say hello at the venue before me and Will make our getaway. For we know of two incredible record stores in Den Bosch. We spend three hours chatting to the owners whilst browsing records. I make a few purchases. A varied mix of LP’s. Nina Simone at Newport, U.K. Subs – Another Kind of Blue, Skids, and Spear of Destiny. Will picked a few up too. His selections were some obscure Jazz, Blues, and Krautrock.
We make it back to De Graafse Akker in time for the evening meal. As ever here it is delicious. The sun is out and it’s such a joy to sit outside and eating amongst the other 50 or so people. There are families here and it’s a really nice atmosphere. Some of the toddlers are interested in our music gear. It’s real fun try to communicate with a Dutch four year old. Especially when I don’t know many words. After dinner we build the outdoor stage. The sound is odd because it’s such a DIY set up and we’re not used to playing full band outdoors.
Joel will be playing on the stage which is built from old washing machine drums and car wheels. The crowd is quite busy for this small field. David kicks off the show and plays what I consider his best show of the tour. Bettie Akkemaai is also great again. This city used to be her hometown and so many of the crowd know her songs which is nice.
It’s dark when we take to the stage. The only lighting is a spotlight or two and the campfire. We nervously smash through the first four or five songs but people seem to like it. I’m really pleased with the strength of my voice tonight. I dedicate ‘Sound of the Kraken’ to the Knoflook and that really gets people moving. I’m really enjoying playing outside. I can feel the heat of the fire, the moisture of the earth beneath my feet, I can see the stars above me, I feel the breeze on my skin. I feel really alive. We played a much longer set than usual. I just wanted to keep playing. During our last song the Police turn up and talk to the organisers. We’re allowed to finish our show without problems. I find out later that they actually liked us.
A lady in the crowd comes to talk to me after the show and she is crying. She tells me that the lyrics of my songs really spoke to her and that although my lyrics are really personal they become universal. That’s really fitting to be under the stars right now.
For the 4th time on this tour we are told that the bar has run out of beer. Incredible stuff. Our crowd likes to party. I somehow acquire a couple of bottles of wine and also some home made liquor. Some young lady asks me if I will join them in busking some acoustic songs by the fire. As if I hadn’t sang enough tonight. I play some singalong songs like ‘Roots Radicals’ by Rancid, ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ by The Clash, and ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ by The Rolling Stones it’s extremely fun. I love places like this. It’s where I feel most at ease. I’m hammering through the wine and expect to be hungover in the morning. I best go to bed otherwise I’ll still be here at sunrise I thought to myself.